Still here, honest. Not vapourised into fibre dust on some distant planet, just head stuck in a bubble working on the website.... (more in a bit)

More goodies have arrived in the post. Knit bloggers are an amazing, generous bunch, we all know. But some of you are verging on the too generous mark and are at risk of being told off. I couldn't believe my eyes when this parcel arrived.

A whole raw Blue Faced Leicester fleece! How yummy? One of my fave fibres to work with. A few weeks back I washed a BFL cross fleece I got from the British Wool Board, and that is soft enough, but this one is the real mccoy and feels even more lush. Am leaving it a few days before starting to wash it, as there has been a constant washing of fleeces since the new year, doing a bit each day, and the aroma has firmly embedded itself in the walls. Am aiming to have all fleeces sorted and cleaned before we escape in the bus, as it's not an easy job to do on the road.

One washed and sorted Shetland fleece. Haven't worked that much with Shetland, 'specially from a fleece state so am rather excited about this. Some fibres of this kind I've felt haven't been that soft, yet hand in bag tells me this is a good one. Apparently it can work that way with Shetland, I'm told. Ready for the dyebath. baby!

500g of BFL roving and a couple 0f fibre samples (somebody knows my love of BFL, don't they?) Can you believe this lot? In the words of the sender, it's a "late birthday, xmas, whatever present". Fibres all from MoonDance Wools and very, very kindly gifted by Susoolu. Thank you so very very much!

Have heard rumours that there may be more surprises in the post. Eek.

Moving on to this website malarkey. It's not like picking up yarn and needles for me, I need to concentrate with this technical stuff. So emails, blogs and people have been ignored (sorry) whilst I get myself stuck in and tidy up and upgrade as planned some time back. Boy, there was a lot of work to do. No maintenance or file clearing had been done for some time, links were out of date or broken and of course I wanted it all looking top notch instantly. Pah.

It's nearly all done now, just a little bit of tweaking and pedantic fiddling. Most of the work isn't evident as it's all behind the scenes, but should make everything run a little faster. The galleries are now looking rather flash, if I say so myself, and the pattern pages have also been upgraded and tidied up. Any feedback is much appreciated, OK?

The biggest change is how the purchased patterns are delivered, and their price. When I first started selling the PDF's I used a system for immediate download, but it was an extra set of fees and another middle man to deal with, so when my site host offered a service for emailing the files, I grabbed it. Unfortunately, some customers lost these emails to their bulk folders and attachments were corrupted.... not many I hasten to say, but enough to concern me. I don't want a method with flaws, no matter how small. When on the road I need to be confident that everything is running smoothly and that no customer is sitting there waiting for me to reply to an email about lost patterns. So the decision was made to go back to the initial method, which is fool proof. No problems for customers, just more work for me!

Sadly though, I've had to put the prices up from £1.75 to £2. Not a huge increase, so hoping it won't be too detremental. After PayPal fees and now the PayLoadz fees, I get very little back from each sale so the increase was necessary. Was considering doing it before we got mobile, and enough folk have told me to do it, so it's done. Still, it is balanced by the improved service and much better site.

2 new patterns are up for sale, which I'm rather liking. Both chullo/ear-flap types. 'Cabley Flapper' uses one skein of Lambs Pride Worsted - a regular 100g lot should be enough for the smaller sizes or a Hat with shorter ear-flaps, but if you're gonna knit the largest size as it is, the bit extra you get with Lambs Pride is needed. The pattern isn't a regular cable, as it's offset. Found it in one of my Harmony guides and as soon as I saw it I knew what do with it.

'My Dear Stalker', named by Tom, is 2 styles in one, similar to the traditional deer stalker Hats. I think it's great! Damn, mustn't blow own trumpet. Bad Wormhead.

Using 100g of Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky or similar, it's a quick knit. The ear-flaps use an eyelet/I-cord funtion for staying up... was considering a button at first but this seemed more my kinda thang with the bonus of no sewing. Am chuffed with the shape when the ear-flaps are up - kinda acorn like, which is created by the crown shaping after the I-cord.

Both are knitted top down, which me reckons is the best way to go about this style of Hat. There'll be another free pattern up in the next few days. Have been playing around with a different type of construction, and this pattern is a simple one written to help me get my head round it all. If I'm gonna experiment, might as well make the useful stuff public, eh?

Next job is get the remaining hand-dyed yarns listed on Ebay. Need the space and cash so they gotta be shifted. Then a trillion emails to reply to, patterns to finish, photographs to take and then finally, finally, there may be some slipper knitting.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead